The Sun is Hiding

by AbsoluteAnonymous


Princess Celestia was enjoying a cup of tea and a moment of solace on her balcony as her sister Luna approached, wearing an amused expression and bringing with her a thick book bound in red and gold. Celestia instantly recognized it as being from the royal library; it was a book that she herself had been reading not too long ago.

The title inscribed on the cover in gold read An Anthology of Equestrian Myths and Legends. Celestia raised an eyebrow when she saw it, lifting her teacup to hide the slight smile that quirked at the corners of her mouth when she realized what Luna must have seen.

"Sister," Luna said as she approached Celestia's elegant little table. "I found this abandoned on a table in the library, and - "

"Twilight Sparkle must have left it there," Celestia answered calmly, cutting her off. "She was in here earlier. She wanted some books on Equestrian history that I was happy to provide."

"This isn't exactly a history book, I'd say. In fact, these are little more than fairytales."

"Which is presumably why she left it behind. Twilight never did care much for fables and stories, you know. She's always preferred her textbooks. Even when she decides to read for fun, she tends to prefer complex literature than can be analyzed into submission for her self-assigned book reports."

"Those are self-assigned?" Luna asked curiously, then shook her head, pursing her lips. Her sister had always been excellent at diverting the natural flow of a conversation to matters she considered more suitable or entertaining. "That may be so, but I didn't come to ask you about your student's reading habits. I found this in the library and became curious, so I began to flip through it, only to find one particular story had been bookmarked. It caught my attention, so I read it myself. Page 289."

"Ah, yes, that old story," Celestia replied lightly after setting down her teacup and taking the book that Luna had presented to her, magically opening it to the page in question. Although she flipped for a bit to find the specific page, the book almost seemed to want to fall open on it, as though it had been opened to this particular story many times in the past. "Historians never do get things completely accurate, you know. I guess they'd have had to have been there to know all the details."

"I don't seem to recall the language back then being quite so obvious or repetitive," retorted Luna, taking a seat to join her sister. Without looking up from the book, Celestia magially took hold of the teapot and poured her companion a cup of the fragrant amber liquid. Luna accepted it with a quick "thank you" before taking a sip herself. "The tribe leaders come across as little more than simpletons. As do we!"

"Well, keep in mind that stories like these are meant to be read by modern audiences of little ponies who aren't familiar with the archaic language used back then," answered her sister, despite the twinkle in her eye as she skimmed the tale. "One has to make allowances for the writers. They had noble enough intentions."

Celestia paused. "As for myself, I do seem to recall quite a bit more usage of the Royal Canterlot Voice back in the day. It's disappointing to see it forgotten. And if I'm remembering correctly, there should've been more swearing on Commander Hurricane's part."

Luna grinned, the expression in her eyes growing distant as the memory came over her. "It's no surprise that Princess Platinum used to believe all pegasi were brutes, if he was the only one that she'd ever had any dealings with before," she said with something like a chuckle, before taking on a more serious air. "But I wanted to ask you something."

"Mmm? Ask me what, sister?"

"Is it ... true?"

Celestia didn't look up. A slight smile still touched her mouth as she read. A feeling of something like nostalgia was coming over her, just as it had come over Luna. "The sun and moon and stars are your crowns and jewels ... I remember that," she said in an almost dreamy voice, so different from the dignified manner she usually bore herself with in public. "We were so young and silly then; and they were so much younger and sillier, always squabbling and making up moments later. Yet they seemed to be so old and wise back then."

"Don't evade the question!" Luna said shortly, setting down her cup with more ferocity than was called for, creating a sharp chink sound as porcelain hit porcelain. "I want to know how accurate this little collection of inaccuracies is."

"In which way?"

Luna paused.

" ... did you really go into hiding afterwards?"

And then, Celestia did look up from the book.

Her eyes shone, though whether from suppressed laughter or something more, Luna couldn't have said.

"I may have spent a few days sulking on my own afterwards, and they may have had to drag me back outside and give me a good scolding," she said mildly. "But I'd hardly call it going into hiding."

There was a moment of shared silence between them while Luna drank her tea and Celestia finished reading.

At last she closed the book and set it back down on the table. "That brings back memories," she sighed happily. "Whether or not it's completely accurate, stories like that can't help but make you think of the way things used to be. Right?"

"Even if the stories aren't especially happy ones?"

"Oh, it was happy enough. It ended with everypony involved learning an important lesson. And now we know that it's happy, for we've seen the end, even if it's not recorded on the page."

"If anypony were to hear you speak now, sister, I'm sure any heartwarming effect the story may have had would be greatly diminished. You sound on the verge of laughter."

"Because it's all so silly! As if any of this even matters."

"Well, it mattered back then. Even if it doesn't any longer."

Another silence.

A minute went by.

And another one.

"Yes, Luna, I missed you dearly." Celestia said softly, meeting her sister's eyes over the table, reaching out to touch her hoof with her own. The expression on her face was a strange blend of gentle sadness and humor. It had been a long time, after all, and to continue mourning a thousand year-old tragedy was foalish. All you could really do when confronted with such a need was laugh. "Every day afterwards, I regretted it. And so I devoted my life to finding a way to atone by becoming better than I ever was before. As funny as these old fairytales can be, that part was true,"

"I missed you as well," Luna replied after a moment, looking almost shy. "I was so lonely before ... I'd thought that you'd forgotten all about me, since you'd grown to be so beloved by everypony else. But I understand now. Love ... isn't something that can simply be used up or run out. If only I'd known that. Before."

"Like I said," came Celestia's playfully serene response. "A very important lesson was learned. Loving many doesn't mean loving others any less."

"I don't really feel that came through very well in the story, to be honest. A fault with the writer, I imagine."

Celestia smiled, giving a little dismissive shrug of her shoulders, and drank her tea. "It's still a lesson we learned, isn't it? What does it matter if it came through well or not?

Luna struggled to think of a response, but couldn't. After a moment, she smiled and shrugged as well before taking another sip.

The book of mistaken pasts was left forgotten, and the two royal sisters decided to leave behind their shared memories, looking instead towards their shared present and eventual future.

Knowing, even if they didn't have a book to tell them so, that they were going to end up happily ever after.